Thursday, February 14, 2008

Barack Obama | But could he deliver? |

Barack Obama | But could he deliver? | "Whatever happens, Mr Obama is already that rare thing—a political phenomenon. It is not just that he has managed to survive the Clintons' crude onslaught with grace. He has persuaded huge numbers of people around the world to reconsider politics in an optimistic way. To many Americans, a black man who eschews both racial politics and the conservative-liberal divide is a chance to heal the country's two deepest divisions. To many foreigners, he represents an idealistic version of America—the hope of a more benevolent superpower"

But the bigger issue, which has so far occupied too little attention, is this: what would a President Obama, as opposed to Phenomenon Obama, really mean for America and the world?

Begin with the horse race. Mrs Clinton is in a bad way—and deservedly so. The Clintons have fought a leaden and nasty campaign; at present, the prospect of a “Billary presidency” (even before you take into account the dynastic Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton aspect) is hardly enthralling. But Mrs Clinton is tough and smart, and now her rival will be under the media microscope. In debates she trumps Mr Obama on mastery of detail

McCain is a brave man, with huge experience of international affairs and a much longer record of reaching out to his opponents in politics. Why should independent voters, who have often backed Mr McCain in the past, turn to the less proven man?

Anyone can get experts to produce policy papers. The trick is to forge consensus to get those policies enacted.

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